Document switching shortcuts

Christopher Breen
9 October, 2008
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Windows users often have a hard time moving between open documents on their new Macs; in Windows, users can switch between open documents with a keyboard command.

Sure. Start by memorising this keyboard shortcut: Command-` (that’s the Tilde key next to the 1 key at the top of the keyboard). This is a universal Macintosh shortcut for moving through open windows within an application or the Finder. Just hold down the Command key and bang the Tilde key each time you want to move to another open document. Press Shift-Command-` and you’ll move in the opposite direction through those open windows.

Or you can use your mouse. Word lists all open documents in its Window menu. Regrettably, it doesn’t assign keyboard shortcuts to these open documents as does a program like Bare Bones Software’s BBEdit. Still, you’ll find them listed in this menu so feel free to mouse up and choose the one you want.

Or you can click and hold on the Word icon in the Dock. Do so and at the top of the contextual menu that appears you’ll see a list of all the open documents. Choose the one you like and it becomes the active document.

Finally, locate the F10 key on your Mac’s keyboard and give it a press (or Fn-F10 on a laptop). This invokes Exposé’s Application Windows function, a handy feature that exposes all of an application’s open documents (except for those you’ve minimised). To select a different document, just drag the cursor over the window you want. Its name will appear when the cursor moves over it. Let go of F10 and the document you were hovering over will come to the fore.

This feature is so useful that I’ve assigned my mouse’s scroll button to invoke it. You can make that kind of assignment in the Exposé & Spaces system preference.

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